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May 2017 Newsletter 

2nd Annual Freedom & Family Fest 

We are anxiously anticipating our 2nd Annual Homecoming event “Freedom & Family Fest 2017!” We hope you are making plans to join us May 26 & 27 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at Everette Hills Baptist Church in Maryville, TN! If you need to make travel arrangements please visit our website at to make hotel, flight, and/or rental car reservations. 

For event details CLICK HERE 

Are you 1 of 100? 

We are praying that God will send 100 people who are willing to sow at least $20 per month into the ministry of Freedom Quartet. Can we count on your support? 

Visit NOW make your pledge! 

Upcoming Appearances 

Saturday, May 20 @ 7:00 PM 
Mill Creek Baptist Church, Winnabow, NC 

Sunday, May 21 @ 7:00 PM 
Northside Baptist Church, Bladenboro, NC 

Friday, May 26 @ 6:00 PM 
Everette Hills Baptist Church, Maryville, TN 

Saturday, May 27 @ 7:00 PM 
Freedom Family Fest, Maryville, TN 

Sunday, May 28 @ 10:30 AM 
Paran United Methodist Church, Cookeville, TN 

Friday, June 2 @ 7:00 PM 
Bellbrook Community Church, Bellbrook, OH 

Saturday, June 3 @ 7:00 PM 
Gospel Barn, Hillsdale, MI 

Sunday, June 11 @ 10:30 AM 
Centerfork Baptist Church, Hot Springs, AR 

For booking information or for additional details on one of the above appearances contact Beckie Simmons Agency by calling 615-595-7500 TODAY! 

Christmas in the Smokies 
November 27, 28, & 29, 2017 

Join Freedom Quartet along with a number of our fellow Chapel Valley artists for a time of fellowship, music, and good times! 

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg in all of their Winterfest glory with lights and beautiful decorations lining the streets and adorning the entire area. 

Click the image to the left to download a full brochure! 

SAILabration on the Sea 
February 5-10, 2018 

Join Freedom Quartet, The Millers, and more of your favorite Gospel Music artists for this once in a lifetime vacation opportunity! 

We will sail from Jacksonville, Florida aboard one of Carnival's largest and most luxurious ships with stops at Half Moon Cay & Nassau in The Bahamas! 

Daily concerts and chapel services for your enjoyment and edification - along with all of the ships entertainment and activities. 

We are looking forward to a great time with our friends and families and would love to have you join us! We plan to host a few activities exclusively for those who are signed up as our guests on the cruise...but space is very limited, so register TODAY! 

Click the image to the right to download a full brochure! 

Travel Agency 

Want to support Freedom Quartet by doing things you’re already doing anyway? We’re recently partnered with Inteletravel to become an independent travel agent and we welcome the opportunity to help you plan your next vacation or business trip! We’ve got plenty of experience in planning travel and logistics to help make your trip smooth and enjoyable. Visit for details! 

The Last Word 
by John Rulapaugh 

As you can see above, we are BUSY! Praise The Lord! 2017 is shaping up to be one of the busiest and best years so far for Freedom Quartet and we are truly blessed! 

We started this year with a tour to the beautiful Southwest....Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. It's truly remarkable the differences in landscape across this great nation of ours and we love to travel and see Gods handiwork all around us. We had a great time visiting areas of the country new to Freedom Quartet and making many new friends along the way. We love to hear YOUR stories and get to know you while you're getting to know of the ladies we met on this journey was the very first female police officer in the state of Alaska! Wow! What a trailblazer she was and is! 

Looking forward we are excited about our 2nd Annual Freedom & Family Fest which will be held at Everette Hills Baptist in Maryville, TN this year. This is the church where our former baritone, Preston Garner, is serving as Minister of Music. We are looking forward to the concert debut of "By Grace," a trio formed by Preston along with David and Bryan Walker. Also on the program Friday night is The Supernals which have family ties for us. My father-in-law Dan Vineyard sings baritone for the group these days. Saturday night will feature a local area favorite "His Own" along with a return of "The Vineyards" featuring my beautiful bride, Jennifer, her sister Jody, and their father Dan. They'll be debuting a newly remastered recording of their previously recorded favorites and you'll definitely want to pick up a copy! 

Our new recording on INSPIRE with Chapel Valley is due out soon! We believe this is going to be a pivotal moment in the career of Freedom Quartet as the alliance with Chapel Valley will lead to a significantly increased presence on radio and open new doors for marketing and advertising as well. If you'd like to be among the first to receive a copy of this new recording we are going to open up advanced purchase just for you within the next week! 

Keep an eye out for our "invitation only" pre-release sale announcement! 
You'll find a list of our currently available recordings and other products by going to 

As you already know, travel is extremely expensive. Remember the last time you took a family vacation? How much did it cost you in travel expenses? Fuel, Lodging, and Food are among the most costly expenses we incur on an ongoing basis. Multiply that family road trip 48 times and you'll get close to realizing what our annual travel expenses come to. Whether we are traveling by bus (and able to enjoy all of the amenities therein) or in a van and trailer with hotel stops each night - the expense is almost dollar for dollar the same. 

With that in mind, we've added a "support" page to our website and partnered with FlipCause to aid in meeting our fundraising goals. Since becoming a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization we have been blessed with a number of folks who have chosen to offer ongoing financial support to our ministry. We are so thankful, and have realized just how effective that ongoing support can be to helping us fulfill our calling and mission of "Reaching The Lost and Encouraging The Church Through the Joy of Music." This new fundraising platform allows us to easily provide you with a tax receipt for each contribution as well as a year end summary for tax purposes. All contributions to the ministry of Freedom Quartet are tax deductible, the same as each contribution you make to your local church or other non-profit charity organizations. You can visit to make a a one time contribution or pledge monthly, quarterly, or annual support! 

This is not the only new addition or change to our website, so I'd invite you to just start at and click through each page to see the changes for yourself. You'll notice a new set of photos as well as a few new features added over the past few weeks and months. All in an effort to keep you up to date with what is going on with Freedom Quartet. 

We love and appreciate each of you! You are very much a part of the ministry The Lord has laid on our hearts and we look forward to partnering with you to share The Word through song not only across our great nation, but around the world. Take a look at our tour schedule and please make plans to be with us in concert sometime soon!

Scott Mullins joins Freedom Quartet as Baritone  

By: Freedom Quartet  
THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2016  

Sevierville, TN - Freedom Quartet is pleased to announce the addition of Charleston, WV native Scott Mullins as baritone vocalist. Gospel Music fans may remember Scott for his days with The Gospel Harmony Boys or most recently Tim Green's Trio "The Greene's."  

Speaking of the groups former baritone, John Rulapaugh states "The calling to church ministry is evident in Preston's life and we are proud of the ministry that he continues in his work at Everette Hills Baptist Church in Maryville, TN”  

As for the future of Freedom Quartet, "we are thankful that The Lord lead us to Scott Mullins. He is an incredibly talented singer who is in tune with the Holy Spirit, sings with deep conviction and conveys the message of the song with both feeling and expertise. Scott, along with his wife Cathy, are a perfect fit for the Freedom Quartet family and we are excited to welcome them" states Rulapaugh. Though he had performed in a “fill in” capacity prior, Mullins’ first official appearance as a member of Freedom Quartet came on Friday June 10 at The Memphis Quartet Show.  

The smooth baritone of Scott Mullins is featured on the second verse of Freedom Quartet’s new single release “I Am A Christian” which is featured in Singing News’ New Music Review and is available for FREE DOWNLOAD from the groups website at  

To schedule Freedom Quartet to appear at your event, concert, or church, contact Dixie McKeithen at BSA by calling 615-595-7500 or online at  

Freedom Quartet is a recipient of the Singing News Fan Award for Favorite New Traditional Quartet and is comprised of Gospel Music veterans John Rulapaugh, Dale Shipley, Burman Porter and newcomer Scott Mullins. The group was formed in August 2013 and found immediate success. In their short history, Freedom Quartet has performed coast to coast and beyond, including two tours through Northern Ireland. More information can be found on the groups website at or

September 24, 2015 

On The Bus...

The last time I wrote to you I mentioned that  we had been presented with the opportunity to purchase this older model Prevost Motor-coach that had been very gently used and had fewer than 130,000 original miles on it. After prayerful consideration we decided to purchase the bus and have been, sincerely, blessed by that decision. We’ve traveled in relative luxury as compared to our previous “mini-bus” and have, until recently, had very few mechanical issues to deal with.

Earlier this year I made the poor decision to continue driving while I was extremely tired and while parking the bus in a Walmart parking lot unfortunately learned the hard way that those big yellow concrete light pole foundations don’t move, no matter what you hit them with. Obviously a very hard lesson learned. I’m thankful for good insurance and great friends who very graciously covered the deductible for us. The repair facility really made the bus look better than the day we bought it, and that’s really saying something!

One thing that doesn't seem to have been caught during those repairs is the fact that the front air conditioning had stopped working. We’ve been trying to work that problem out ever since, but to no avail. Then, couple of weeks ago, through another series of unfortunate events, our generator went out. I’ll admit that it seems, in retrospect, that I am likely responsible for that issue as well, though I’m not convinced the problem wasn’t looming prior to my spurring it on. Nevertheless, I took the bus to a local bus conversion/repair shop to have the generator looked at. While there I learned that their shop foreman was the lead repair tech for the particular conversion company that built our bus. He has very intimate knowledge of everything on our coach and I’m confident that is going to come in handy. Nevertheless, the generator engine is in great shape, but the actual power generating “stator” had cracked and had to be rewound to the tune of $3,209.75.

Since the generator has been out of the bus while being repaired we’ve been about as red-neck as any one gospel group can muster! The past few weeks we’ve rented a gasoline generator, strapped it to a trailer one weekend - a rear luggage carrier the next, and ran the “shore power” line wire-tied to the outside of the bus to provide power to the inside. Since the air conditioning is still not working up front we made use of a couple of portable air units in the front of the bus. This helps, but really doesn’t come close to doing the job that the built-in unit does.

While we were in Kansas just a few weeks ago I noticed that the transmission wasn’t acting right. By the time we got home with it the problem seemed to have worked itself out, as can be the case if it were just a clogged line or stuck solenoid. When we started the bus to leave out the next weekend, headed to Georgia, it acted like it didn’t want to go into “Drive.” We were able to make the weekend, and at one point even thought the problem had been solved by resetting the computer, but the issue resurfaced the following morning and persisted throughout the remainder of the trip. The morning after we returned home I took it to the recommended local Allison Transmission dealer who told me that they didn’t have anyone who would be able to repair it because of its age. I was able to find another shop that said they’d be able to diagnose the problem. They called the next day to tell me that we will need a new/remanufactured transmission.

Friends, I have to tell you, we are not financially prepared for this repair. The generator issue combined with the ongoing effort to repair the air conditioning has literally drained ever penny of reserve that we had put up. In order to “make the date” we will have the additional expense of hotel rooms and renting a trailer for the foreseeable future.

I have no doubt that The Lord will provide. My life and the life of every member of our group is a testament to that fact. I can tell you specific instances in our lives when God made himself evident, time and again…and I’m absolutely convinced that this circumstance will prove no different. That said, God often uses his kids to facilitate the work He has given others to do, and I would sincerely appreciate it if you would consider making a financial contribution to Freedom Quartet for the purpose of this repair. We will not have a total cost until the bus is ready to roll out of the repair facility, but we know the bill is going to run into the thousands. A friend recently told me it cost him $16,000 to replace his transmission. While I don’t expect ours will be quite that much, I know it will be significant.

If you’d like to make a contribution to Freedom Quartet to aide in the cost of these repairs you can do so through PayPal using your credit card or checking account - simply click here.

NEW Products!

Our Debts Will Be Paid

We had anticipated the completion of this new recording in time for NQC but production delays have made it impossible for us to have the finished product by then. We will, however, have a limited supply of “Pre-Release” CD’s available with 7 of the 10 songs that will be included on the completed project.

If you purchase the digital “Pre-Release” version for only $10 NOW we will send you a coupon for $5 off of the full production version (Regularly priced $15) as soon as it is available. You can use that coupon through our online store (or in person at a concert or our office location) toward the purchase of the completed production version of the new recording OR you may use it toward the purchase of ANY CD by Freedom Quartet! The coupon is not valid on t-shirts, hats, printed materials, or the guys solo recordings.



Travel with us!

We are excited about two wonderful opportunities available for you to join us this year!

Gospel Jubilee Cruise - January 18-23, 2016

Cruise with us to Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman! We have been to both of these destinations before and can tell you with absolute certainty that you will thoroughly enjoy this trip! You’ve heard about all of the wonderful things to do on-board the ships…incredible food, entertaining shows, comfortable accommodations, etc…but you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a bunch of gospel singers do Karaoke! This is ALWAYS one of the highlights of the cruise and no doubt it will be again! Our families are planning to join us and we hope that you will too!

Northern Ireland

Join us for a once in a lifetime trip to Northern Ireland in March! We will be leaving on March 16th for a week long tour including a wonderful weekend of great Gospel Music in The Cathedral City of Armagh. We will tour the North Coast visiting beautiful sights such as Giants Causeway, The Dark Hedges, and The Gobbling. You’ll visit Titanic Center and see where the infamous ship was built and first launched in Belfast as it set out on its fateful voyage. Roundtrip airfare can be arranged from your nearest international airport or you can opt to join us and travel from Knoxville, TN. Details of your tour package can include an extended stay in country beyond our planned return on March 23. Please email or call us to discuss these possibilities!

Singing News

We are thankful to have been nominated in the Top 5 New Traditional Male Quartet’s again for 2015! That makes 2 consecutive nominations in this category which means we’ve met lot of new folks again this past year. Thank you for your confidence in us and for considering us as you sent in your final ballots. The Singing News Fan Awards will be distributed during the National Quartet Convention - less than 2 weeks from now!

Look for my ugly mug in the September issue of Singing News in a fun article with a bunch of my friends about our first cars…it’s a fun read!

We are now offering Singing News subscriptions through our online store in addition to our merchandise table at all of our concerts. The Singing News is the best source of information about all of your favorite artists in Southern Gospel Music. You will enjoy reading and might just find yourself anticipating the arrival of the magazine in your mailbox each month. Digital subscriptions are also available! CLICK HERE to subscribe right now!

The Last Word….

I cannot express to you how thankful we are for your continued support of Freedom Quartet. Throughout all of the difficult situations that we face on the road, you prove God’s faithfulness and renew our desire to continue in our work. Your kind words, thoughtful gifts, and timely contributions have made it possible for us to do what we do without interruption. Thank You doesn’t seem to convey the sentiment that I feel in my heart toward each of you. We love you and cherish your friendship. We continue to be “The Quartet that you are building” as we rely on your generosity and friendship at every turn. Your faith in us is humbling and truly encouraging. We look forward with great anticipation to each opportunity to see you somewhere on the road.



February 9, 2015 E-Newsletter  

In This Edition

On The Road Again
Upcoming Appearances
Cruise With Us!
New Radio Song... FREE!
The Rest of The Story - Bus Update
The Last Word...

On The Road Again

I have to tell you, we intentionally planned to be off from Thanksgiving until a few weeks into the New Year, but I seriously doubt we’ll do that again! It was just WAY TOO long to be off the road and away from you, our friends! I will say, it’s usually at some point during a long break like this that group members get “squirrelly” and either get too comfortable at home and decide not to go back on the road, or get cabin fever and decide to join another group that keeps a busier schedule. Well, I’m thankful to report that Burman, Preston, and Dale are just as thankful to be back on the road as I am - and we are all dedicated to the future of Freedom Quartet!

So, to get you caught up on what has happened over the past couple of months - During the break I’ve been busy being a husband and dad as well as trying to catch up with our company, Vacation Valley Cabin Rentals. Dale has been busy being retired (must be nice). Preston has performed a few solo concerts and served as a guest worship leader in various churches in the area. And Burman, well, Burman has been Burman. Besides helping us with cabin maintenance he’s painted everything from a four wheeler to Mark Blackwood’s bathroom. Literally. I’m not kidding. Yes, it’s time to get back on the road! Ha!

We’re working on a few new ideas that we are excited to test out. Several of those involve video production, and we need your help! Since the value of these ideas is unproven we do not want to sink hundreds or thousands of dollars into it only to find that we’ve wasted those precious funds. If you or anyone you know is experienced in video production we’d love to hear from you! We are looking for a couple of folks who would be willing to help us explore these ideas. If it proves to be worthwhile it could turn into anything from an ongoing occasional “gig” to a full time salaried position within our organization. Interested? Send us an email!

Upcoming Appearances

13    10:30 AM    St. Petersburg, FL    Sun Coast Cathedral
15    6:00 PM      Winter Park, FL    Aloma Church
16    6:30 PM      Sevierville, TN      Smoky Mountain Gospel Jubilee Radio Show
22    !0:30 AM      Knoxville, TN        Southside Baptist Church
22     6:00 PM      Sevierville, TN        Boyds Creek Baptist Church
While these are the only confirmed appearances currently schedule for this month we will be adding last minute appearances! If you or your church would be interested in hosting a concert with Freedom Quartet please contact Beckie Simmons Agency 615-595-7500.Cruise with us!

This will be our very FIRST Gospel Singing Cruise! We would love to have you join us for this once in a lifetime trip to The Bahama’s! While most cruises are scheduled for the early part of the year we will be sailing this coming November 2-7. Besides having a great time together on the ship, we’re also planning a special surprise for those who choose to signup for the cruise through Freedom Quartet.

New Radio Song!
Please call your local radio station and request our new single

"To Lift Somebody Up"

From our latest recording "Let It Be Said"
Available in our Online Store NOW!

Those who receive our e-newsletter received a FREE download of this song in our last email blast!

"The Rest of The Story" - Bus update
     If you’re not already connected with us on Facebook and Twitter you should be..and if you’re gonna have ANY IDEA what is going on with this story you’re gonna have to visit our Facebook page to get the first part which was posted here on January 30th…

    One thing I was reminded of that should be mentioned…Earl refilled all three filters with fuel three times before we decided we’d had enough and would work on it again later….We had literally exhausted everything we knew to do to get things going and NOTHING worked.
    I went back to cut the batteries off so they wouldn’t drain down. As I flipped the switches I noticed that the DDEC/ATEC switch was already turned off. I started to walk away, but it occurred to me that Earl had repeatedly told me “If that switch right there is off you can crank on this bus all you want - it WILL NOT START.” Well, that’s exactly what we’d just spent TWO HOURS doing! I turned all of the batteries back on and turned the power on to the DDEC/ATEC…pushed the starter button on the rear panel…and…IT STARTED before the crank had turned one full revolution! We all just looked at each other and laughed till we had tears in our eyes. Thank The Lord we didn’t have a real problem, other than operator trouble of course. HA!

    So, we went to Atlanta and recorded the television program with Danny Jones, Karen Peck, and Mike LeFever (Gospel Music USA). Not even a hint of a problem all the way to Atlanta and back. It was a great day! When we got back to the bus lot we all went our separate ways with the plan of meeting back at the lot to head to florida just a couple days later.

    After all we’d experienced just a few days earlier I expected we’d get back to the bus, crank her up, and head to Florida without incident…but that’s wasn’t to be. As I was approaching the lot Burman called to tell me the batteries were completely dead on the bus. Sure enough, they were deader than dead. We were set to leave at 9PM. We immediately put chargers on the batteries with the hopes of bringing them up enough to get it started pretty quickly and get on the road. By 10PM, according to the ammeters on the chargers we were making progress with one set of batteries, but not the other set (It’s a 24 volt system…don’t ask, it’s too complicated). We tried to crank it but there wasn’t even enough juice to turn it over. I believe it was around 11PM when I decided (gee, I’m timely) that we ought to see about replacing the two batteries that weren’t charging. By that time all of the parts houses were closed and wouldn’t re-open until well after our “point of no return” when it would be too late for us to make it to the venue in time to sing. We had to replace those batteries…immediately.
    I decided to try Wal-Mart - about half doubting/half praying that they’d have something comparable to what we needed, even if it wasn’t a perfect solution. By this time of the evening the store was in re-stock mode…they had every isle leading to the automotive section either full of pallets to be unloaded or blocked for cleaning the floors! I was finally able to make it to the corner of the automotive section where the battery racks are and would you believe that every light in the area was turned OFF! I searched through the racks until I found the two largest batteries they had…not exactly what we would have preferred, but enough cranking amps to spin it up anyway (while I was there I picked up a heavy duty battery charger - just to make Steve Weatherford feel better). By the time I got back to the bus Burman had removed the old batteries and determined (through red-neck logic) that they really did need to be replaced. Burman put the new batteries in place of the old ones and within 15 minutes we were rolling toward BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY, & WARM FLORIDA!
    I drove until about 3:30 AM. We were just about Atlanta when I handed it off to Preston. I believe he had been driving about 20 minutes when we hit the rain…and I believe it was just about the same mile marker where we ran out of the rain…ON THE WAY HOME! I think the high temperature in that area of Florida was about 52 that weekend…and I’ve NEVER experienced more rain in any other 72 hour period OF MY LIFE! But, do you know, that (with one exception) every time we got ready to get on or off of the bus the rain slowed or stopped just long enough for us to load in or out…and then it would come a deluge all over again! Now, I’m complaining about 52 degrees, and I know some of you haven’t seen a degree above freezing in weeks or months, but IT WAS FLORIDA!

All of the above aside, the Lord has truly blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. A bad day in this beauty is better than the best day ever in a rented sprinter van! I mentioned a while back that we were being presented with an opportunity that seemed too good to be true…and usually those things end up being exactly what they seem. But not so this time. I’m looking forward to sharing the details of this situation with you but sometimes words just don’t do a story justice, so I want to do it in a more personal way. Look for more on this soon!

The Last Word...   

We’ll be headed back to Florida in just a few days. According to the weather man it’s going to be sunny…and 50 degrees. One outta two ain’t half bad… (you have to say that with a Bronx accent HA!) We are really looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones along the way. Please come see us if we're anywhere near you! Whether or not you're able to attend a concert we certainly covet your prayers. Please remember us and our families as we travel and they go about their regular daily activities. Without their support we wouldn't be able to do what we love and are called to.

If you're still reading, you're surely among our biggest fans and supporters, and I want you to know how much we genuinely appreciate you! We're going to be planning some big events soon and I'd really appreciate your input. Please send me an email and tell me how likely you'd be to go with us on an international trip. We're looking at a Holy Land tour and we're also considering taking a group with us to Northern Ireland the next time we go over which will be in March 2016. What do you think? Is that something you'd be interested in? We think it would be a blast to have the opportunity to share those trips with you.

Until Next Time,